With 5000 nominees from all over the US, the choice was a difficult one. Read about the finalists and the winner here. I thought the creation of the new award category was a sensational idea. Adults seem to be making a mess of our world, maybe it is time to incorporate the ideas of innovative children in creating solutions for the problems they will inherit.
Every time I see someone panhandling, sleeping on the street, or hitchiking with a large pack my heart catches. I think back to my long hours of waiting at bus stops in the cold, snow, and rain. I sat watching hundreds of cars go by with only the driver inside. I was resentful then and still often feel guilty if I drive anywhere alone in my minivan.
I watched the people pass by as I sat. I was hungry, tired, cold and wet. I never asked anyone for anything, but I wished desperately that someone would offer me a kind word, a snack, or a ride. I imagined sliding into a warm car and being driven in comfort before being dropped off close to my house. It rarely if ever happened.
I know what it feels like to wonder where I would sleep at night. I know what kind of desperate obsession hunger becomes when you can see others eating things you cannot have. I can easily disregard the choices that may have led people to the point where they are now: standing with a cardboard sign. I simply see a person suffering, that could benefit from any kindness.
Nowadays I rarely carry cash. All my income is direct-deposited and I don’t often need cash. In those moments when I see someone who is so very much in need, I often wish I had something to give them.
I have recently hit upon an idea I am excited about: care packs. The concept is simple; you buy a box of zipper bags and pack them full of small items that a person living rough or down-on-their-luck might need. You then keep them in your car. When you come across someone in need, you give them a care pack instead of, or in addition to, just handing out cash.
Something like this would have made a world of difference for me. I’ll include a list of items that might be good at the bottom of this post.
This is an article about some people in Jacksonville that have been helping people in this way. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.jacksonville.com/amp/5556519002
Here is my list: Snack bars, protein snacks, rasins, hand sanitizer, face masks, tissues or toilet paper, liquid soap, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, socks, deodorant, soap and washcloth or wipes, a trash bag, a few dollars or a gift card to a grocery store or fast food. * I pack a couple with some feminine hygiene, too. In case I meet a person who needs those.
Drop a comment below with your thoughts? Share pictures if you make some packs of your own!
I’m a big fan of the ‘Tiny home” movement. I lived in 600 sq ft homes (or less) from 2007 until 2014. There is something wonderful about minimalism and small spaces.
Many people are downsizing as the economy falters or the gap between wealthy and lower-income families widens. Some choose it as a way to avoid crushing debt or to save money in order to pay off student loans while still having a space to call their own.
One innovative approach to the homeless veteran population is to create tiny home communities that offer not only housing but addiction support and access to social services and mental health care. This kind of solution could work for populations of all kinds; immigrants/asylum seekers, foster youth that are aging out, young mothers, even homeless families. We know that housing-first solutions can prevent the slide into substance abuse and create the opportunity for stability that everyone needs in order to be successful at holding a job and home on their own again. I hope you’ll look more into this and support the work that is being done. Maybe you could support the project creating a community like this in your area?